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A Dirty Dozen with SETH SAMUELSON COCQUIT – February 2021

| 27 February 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Midwest-soaked and Tennessee-steeped are a couple ways to describe the new solo project from Peoria, IL based singer-songwriter (and frontman of the band Harvest Sons) Seth Samuelson Cocquit. Seth’s Americana-tinged single “Old Timer,” produced by Clint May (Nashville, TN) is filled with the kind of Midwestern soul you’d expect from a Midwest born-and-raised songwriter.  Seth takes a page right out of his family’s Midwest storybook for “Old Timer.” The February 2021 release celebrates the work of Seth’s grandfather, who boot-strapped the family farm that Seth’s family farms to this day. Seth, who teaches music in Central Illinois, continues to paint a picture of life in the Midwest through songs about living the simple life in an ever more complicated world.” We get Seth to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo credit: Jeff Noble

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

This song lays out the geography of the story plainly where I’m singing about the area of the Quad Cities on the Illinois side specifically. This song is weird because I go from describing my grandfather to the geographic area, to him talking about dying, and how much he loved the farm he built. This song is a dedication to him as much as it is living in the country. It holds a special place in my heart. Hopefully, the listener gets that from the song.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I started playing violin at 10 years old and played that all the way through college on a performance scholarship. I grew tired of classical music, so I got into bluegrass music heavily after college. I ended up playing in a local bluegrass band called Frank F. Sidney’s Western Band Volunteers. This is about the time I started to write songs more rigorously. I’d written a few songs here and there in high school and college but was usually just doing it to impress girls. I wrote my first song about living in a rust belt town in my mid-twenties, remembering back to the time the factory shut down and left the little Midwest hamlet of Galesburg, Illinois out in the cold. That’s the first time I realized corporations don’t give two craps about the people who work for them or the taxpayers who provide them subsidies. Anyway, I’m still writing those songs to this day and look forward to recording those in the future.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I draw a lot from Neil Young’s Harvest Moon album, even though none of my stuff sounds like him, musically speaking. Listening to guys like him and John Prine, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, I realized I can just write songs about where I’m from and that it’ll find its way into some ears who may appreciate it someday.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Tom Petty, John Prine, CSNY, Rolling Stones, and Old 97s.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Emmylou Harris. I love her voice.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’ve heard a random person say I sound like Jason Aldean, which I cringe at. If I had to describe my music to someone who’d never listened before, I’d tell them to be ready for something country, something rock, something meaningful. I don’t write songs about drinking beer on my tailgate, even though that is something I’ve done plenty of.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Nathan Cowan, guitarist for my main band project, Harvest Sons, always has the guitar out first, Nik is always whipping up drinks (he’s a bartender), and I’ve been cooking in the air fryer lately (game changer).

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Honestly can’t remember.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part about being a musician is playing live shows and meeting new people in the area or on the road. If I weren’t a musician, my dream job would be running a cantina in the Caribbean somewhere. That or shrimp boat captain.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

The question interviewers never ask is how do you see the world differently than others? My answer to that is I wish people weren’t so focused on the rat race and just focused on simpler things, like each other.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I think I would have liked to move to a more musically centered city such as Nashville or Austin. I also wish, looking back, I focused less on the business side of music and more on the music itself and removing toxic people from the equation.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The Rolling Stones recording in Muscle Shoals would be epic.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Man, I’ll tell you what I miss most is going to music festivals. I was lucky to be able to catch two nights of Billy Strings’ Drive-In concert in Peoria back in September 2020. I didn’t realize just how much I missed being around a community of music lovers like that.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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